DESCRIPTIONGingivitis is inflammation or infection of the gums. The gum tissue around the teeth is involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Doctor's or dentist's treatment.
Surgery to remove infected gum tissue, if other treatment fails.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSGums that are swollen, red, and soft around the child's teeth.
Gums that bleed easily.
CAUSESPoor nutrition, especially vitamin deficiencies that cause diseases such as scurvy or pellagra.
Plaque (food particles, germs, and mucus at the base of the child's teeth).
Blood disorders, including leukemia.
Adverse reactions to drugs, such as anti-convulsants (primarily phenytoin and barbiturates).
Exposure to lead and bismuth.
Poor nutrition, especially vitamin deficiency.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
Practice good oral hygiene (see HOME CARE) to prevent plaque formation.
Have regular dental checkups twice a year.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Take vitamin supplements if you cannot eat well-balanced meals.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory culture of the plaque to identify the bacteria responsible for the child's infection.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSExtensive involvement may require painful, prolonged gum surgery for your child.
Usually curable in 2 weeks with treatment.
HOME CAREInstructions for your child:
Brush your teeth properly. Scrub clear, sticky plaque off the teeth daily with a soft toothbrush. Place the brush at the gum line and gently rotate it, pointing bristles toward the gum. Brush one section of teeth at a time. A soft brush is less likely to damage teeth and gums than a hard brush.
Floss your teeth at least once a day. Use waxed or unwaxed dental floss. Wind most of it around the middle finger of each hand. Use index fingers as guides to force the floss between the teeth gently. Gently clean adjacent tooth surfaces with a back-and-forth sawing motion at the gum line. Floss between all upper teeth, using the thumbs as guides.
Use a fluoride toothpaste.
Make regular appointments with your dentist for cleaning and treatment of cavities.
MEDICATIONAntibiotics to fight infection.
Vitamins, if your child has a deficiency.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor or dentist may prescribe:
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Your child should avoid candy, sweet drinks, or sweet snacks. Sugar stimulates the production of acid, which attacks normal teeth. The best desserts are fruit and cheese, rather than ice cream or other high-sugar desserts.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of gingivitis.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Bleeding increases.
-- Pain becomes intolerable.
-- Temperature rises to 101F (38.3C) or higher.
-- Neck or face becomes swollen.
-- Swallowing becomes difficult.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.